We’ve hit that point in the new year when many of us have likely given up on our new year’s resolutions. It happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t seeing the progress we’d hoped we would be making. Other times we find our new routines too hard to stick with. Whatever the case may be, there are some simple steps we can take to keep ourselves motivated throughout the day. Once we take control of our motivation, we can take our healthy habits to the point they become automatic.
Define your purpose
If we want to stick with our improved lifestyles for the long haul, we first need to know why we are doing it. Getting healthy has so many benefits, the reasons can snowball quickly. When we exercise and eat right, our bodies reward us by cutting the fat and functioning properly. We feel better. We also start to look better, which makes us feel better about our bodies. Hopefully, in the end, we’ll live higher-quality lives through old age. Knowing the “why” will make the “how” more palatable. It will also keep us going strong through the rough patches. Defining your purpose may be the most important step in motivating you through any endeavor.
Make a plan
Plans always involve goals. If there’s no goal, what is the purpose of planning? It’s nice to have a grand vision of where you will be at the end of your journey, but if you focus too hard on your end goal, you’ll miss all the baby steps along the way. You may even find yourself frustrated and give up before you ever reach that goal. Setting smaller, more achievable goals will help you take your transformation one day at a time. Hitting those goals will keep you motivated and give you something to celebrate.
And make sure you do celebrate! Reward yourself for hitting your goals. If you’ve shed a couple of inches, pick up a new outfit that shows off your progress. You’ll look great, and start dreaming of what you want to get when you hit your next milestone. A little planned positive reinforcement goes a long way toward keeping you motivated to meet more goals. You’ll push yourself harder when you see something you really want at the end.
If you’re the type that has a hard time finding the time to hit the gym, plan your trips around the time you are most likely to go. If you’re an early riser, going first thing might be a good way to provide you with sustainable energy to make it through a long workday. You likely won’t have many other plans that early, and you may even beat some rush hour traffic by starting your commute a little earlier.
If you prefer to sleep in, try hitting the gym on your way home. Bring your workout gear with you and change at work or in the locker room. That way you won’t have to go home first and fend off all the distractions and excuses we all find so readily available. By the time you do reach home, you’ll feel accomplished and ready to tackle your evening.
An object in motion tends to stay in motion
Sometimes it’s hard to climb out from under our sherpa blankets and off the couch. We’ve all become aware of how harmful our sedentary lifestyles are to our health, but one more night of Netflix and chill in the frigid darkness of February can be hard to resist. Why not try watching an episode or two of your current binge from the yoga mat. You can still catch your show, and you’ll loosen your muscles and increase your energy levels at the same time. By the time you finish the show, you’ll feel better about getting up and at it.
The same holds true at work. If you sit at a computer all day, you know how hard it can be to fit exercise into your busy routine. You may sit for hours staring at your screen, only to find yourself stiff and tired when you finally rise. Getting up once an hour to walk around and take in some activity will keep you going much better than caffeinated drinks or sugary snacks, and you won’t have to worry about the calorie swing or crash afterward.
Make it enjoyable!
One of the main obstacles we encounter when trying to keep up with our exercise routines is the draw of fun with friends. Hitting happy hour with coworkers or binging on barbecue can sound like a much better time than a grueling workout at the end of a long day. If that’s the case, try to spice things up a little.
Whether we’re trying to stick to a more healthy diet or exercise routine, if we don’t enjoy it, each new day spent waiting to see results can become unbearable. Finding healthy foods we love, and physical activities we look forward to can help us stick to the plan. If you aren’t enjoying your workouts, switch it up with something more fun.
Everything is more fun with a partner in crime. If you’re having trouble keeping your motivation up at the gym, find a friend to go with you. Planning to work out with a friend both holds you accountable and makes your workouts fly by. Find a cardio-intensive sport for two like racquetball to incorporate a little competition into your routine. When you and your workout buddy can jump into a game whenever the two of you are present, you don’t have to work around the schedules of the rest of the team.
Another benefit of choosing an individual sport is that since you don’t have a team, you’re forced to hold your own, ensuring you’re motivated to keep yourself competitive. Seeing your improvement reflected on the scoreboard is as good a motivational tool as any.
Putting it into practice
You’ve got your why. You’re working on your how. This is where the work comes in. Mindful planning and adherence to your routine will keep you on the right track. Plan to put yourself in a position to improve yourself every day. Set achievable goals that keep you going back for more. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself turning everyday activities into empowerment opportunities.
If you’re looking for support to keep you motivated or fallen off course with your health and wellness goals, check out our Swellness Coaching Offerings and book your complimentary 30-minute call with Lulu and together, you’ll figure out the best path and how you can be supported along your journey.